16 December 2007

Every Language

Granted, every language has rules and exceptions to the rules. Nonetheless, I'm pretty sure I chuckled when I read the following more than a decade ago; I also chuckled when I read it Saturday morning. From C.L. Seow's A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew (Abingdon, 1987) (sorry, I can't quite reproduce all the transliterations exactly):

"Segolates are nouns which were originally monsyllabic, with two different consonants at the end (i.e., *qatl, *qitl, *qutl).... Through a process of vowel harmony, we get nouns that are so dominated by sĕgôl that the original distinction between *qatl, *qitl, and *qutl is no longer made in the independent singular nouns. Regardless of the original vowel, these nouns generally appear as qétel, except that *qutl nouns always appear as qōtel, and many *qitl nouns will appear as qētel."
Good stuff.

No comments: